Skift Take

Buying Germany's Comtravo last month also meant taking on that agency's own ongoing acquisitions, including plans to buy Sweden's Resia. That deal's now gone through, and TripActions gains a shortcut to Scandinavia.

When TripActions bought Microsoft-backed corporate travel agency Comtravo for a reported $60 million last month, it inherited several of its ongoing acquisitions. The first to come to light is Swedish corporate travel agency Resia.

The Gothenburg-based company was in the process of being sold to Comtravo as part of its “inorganic growth strategy” — a quality TripActions found attractive, according to an internal document seen by Skift.

“When TripActions closed the acquisition of Comtravo, several other acquisitions that Comtravo had in flight were still ongoing,” a staff memo said. “The Resia acquisition is one of those deals. Given Comtravo’s inorganic growth strategy, it’s safe to assume that there will be more.”

Comtravo raised $23.4 million in venture investment in November 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

Transaction terms of the deal were not disclosed. “As a private company, the TripActions Group does not disclose the terms of investments,” said a spokesperson.

According to another internal TripActions memo, Reisa has a travel budget under management of $140 million.

TripActions said the purchase “offers ideal positioning for further growth across the Nordics.” Buying Resia gives it 1,300 new customers, and a foothold in the Nordics as it continues its drive across Europe. TripActions now has offices in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Portugal. “Bringing Resia into the group fast-tracks TripActions’ position in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and helps guarantee its long-term international expansion plans,” said a TripActions spokesperson.

All Resia staff will stay onboard and continue to serve customers in the region. However, it declined to reveal how many employees were included. Resia’s parent company Resia Travel Group AB underwent a court-approved reorganization in May 2020, appointing legal firm Dnovo as administrator. It offloaded its holiday business, Bengt-Martins, to Magic Carpet Group in July 2021.

“The situation with Covid-19 has meant that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided on an extended travel ban, countries have closed their borders and severe restrictions on events have been imposed. For us, this has meant non-existent sales and resulted in high refund claims due to cancelled trips and bookings. This has forced the decision to file for reorganisation to avoid bankruptcy,” the company said in a statement.

Resia Travel Group then had a total of 300 employees, according to a local media report, quoting documents filed in the District Court in Gothenburg as part of its corporate reorganization application.

TripActions declined to comment on whether it was taking on debts of the company.

But the Silicon Valley startup said it now has 8,800 clients, and that travel bookings from the European Union were averaging 30 percent week-on-week growth.

The internal memo also revealed TripActions is keeping a close eye on rival TravelPerk, which bought UK travel management company Click Travel in July last year. “TripActions was already a superior, more comprehensive, and global solution than TravelPerk, and this acquisition now underscores our regional dominance in ALL of Europe,” the memo said, under the headline: “How will this acquisition help me sell against TravelPerk?”

Meanwhile, 13 business travel associations from countries across Europe, including the Association Francaise du Travel Management and Germany’s VDR, which this week is co-hosting Global Business Travel Association’s European conference in Berlin, have formed a new body called the European Network of Business Travel Associations. The non-profit association will be headquartered in Brussels.

“Up to now the buyers of business travel — companies, public services, non-governmental organizations — did not have a unified network to make their demands heard on a European level. BT4Europe will build a bridge between its member associations and political decision makers in Europe,” the association said. “On top of its agenda are the recovery of business travel from Covid-19 pandemic, changing business travel to make it more sustainable and promoting digital processes within business travel.

The venture comes as the European arm of the Global Business Travel Association readies to lobby the European Commission over climate change legislation.

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Tags: business travel, coronavirus, corporate travel, covid-19, europe, gbta, sweden, travel management companies, travelperk, tripactions

Photo credit: TripActions has acquired Swedish corporate travel agency Resia. Jon Flobrant / Unsplash